My “little” brother Geoff arrived in town this week for mountain bike nationals coming up this weekend (pictured with Zoe and her first official cowgirl hat at the Calgary Stampede). Here we are both getting ready for the same race again and sometimes I find it comical that we are still both racing so seriously now that we are both officially in our mid-thirties! I often joke with my parents saying, bet you’re wondering when your kids are going to grow up and focus on “real” jobs, ha!
All jokes aside, I think one big reason we have both lasted this long has been from the continual support and encouragement of our parents. Since the day Geoff and I both joined the local track club at the ages of 10 and 12, my parents have been actively involved in a positive way. First, they have participated alongside us over the years. I have very fond memories growing up of family runs on the weekend with our two border collies leading the way in the trails around our house in Courtenay, B.C. My parents also chaperoned at many track meets over the years, and attended high school basketball games in the winter. Pictured below Geoff and I are riding on Hornby Island in high school, me on my brothers first ever race bike, the good old rigid purple Kona Kula!
When Geoff switched to mountain bike racing in high school, my parents soon followed along and took up mountain biking too. When an injury sidelined my running after university and I took up mountain biking, it was my parents who taught me trail skills that first summer while riding in Courtenay and on Hornby Island! Geoff was also my coach for the five years I focused on mountain bike racing before switching to Xterra.
My parents have been to countless races over the years, and I’ve always appreciated how well they understand what we do. They’ve always understood what interval times mean on the track, and understand our sport involvement (from soccer, track, volleyball, basketball, cycling, to triathlon) well enough to understand what a good or bad day means because they enjoy following it all, especially with plenty of internet race viewing now! Now both in their sixties, they aren’t running much anymore but are both still mountain biking as much as ever!
Now that I’m a mom, I’m even more grateful to my parents support. My mom or both parents have traveled with me to several races and team training camps the past four years in order to help with the kids. As a parent myself, I hope I can encourage my kids in the same way my parents have encouraged us – by simply taking an active interest in whatever sports (if any, no pressure, ha!) my kids would like to pursue. I think taking an active interest in understanding the sport, and encouraging the process and effort is the best thing a parent can do!